Photo Credit Ben Knight
(Selected previous praise for Spearmint):
“One day Spearmint will be hailed as gods” – NME
“Celebrates being hopelessly head-over-heals in love – revel in its purity and joy” – Mojo
“Sweet sounds… exquisitely precise” – Uncut
“One of the most life-affirmingly brilliant pop bands” – Drowned In Sound
Today, UK cult-favourites Spearmint have released their new single ‘St. Thomas In The Darkness’. The band previously revealed a video for the track directed by Martin Gordon and filmed in the Observer Building, Hastings that has been left derelict for over 30 years. Spearmint have announced the upcoming release of new album ‘Are You From The Future?’ for November 1st on hitBACK label.
Spearmint songwriter and lead singer, Shirley Lee, has said that lyrically, “it’s a love song, and it’s totally literal – I don’t feel like it needs any explanation. I’m very fond of the words as they are close to my heart, but also, I really like the “When I’m weak…” and the “I’m not good with names…” sections.”
We shot the video in the Observer Building in Hastings with director Martin Gordon. I really enjoyed how pretentious it all got, almost Hammer Horror, with us creeping round the vaults in darkness.”
This year marks the 20th anniversary of their 1999 debut release ‘A Week Away’, but Spearmint have their minds firmly focused on the years to come. Spearmint’s singer and song-writer Shirley Lee explains, “The title ‘Are You From The Future?’ refers to the younger folk, who will see a future that I won’t. I can only apologise for what my generation and the baby boomers are passing on – the sooner the current teens and twenty-somethings are running the world the better, as far as I’m concerned.”
The first taster from the release came in the form of single ’24 Hours in A&E’, that was a late addition to the record that then became a favourite with the band themselves. “It was written when we were half-way through actually recording the album. I was so proud of the song, especially the structure, which I think is unique. I was worried that band or JB wouldn’t get it, and would want to change it to make it more orthodox. But they all got it straight away, it was a pleasure to work on, and makes the perfect opener to the album“, says Lee.
Spearmint will premiere the new songs live with some choice cuts from the band’s catalogue at the legendary Water Rats venue on November 14th.
More on ‘Spearmint’ and ‘Are You From The Future?’:
London-based Spearmint have been quietly getting on with making great albums for a couple of decades now. Still the same line-up, still all on their own label. Often referred to as ‘Britain’s best kept secret’, the band have resolutely ploughed their own path, ignoring all else, to concentrate on what they set out to do. Their single-minded search led Joseph Gordon Levitt to bemoan “I don’t want to live in a world where no-one’s heard of Spearmint” in the movie ‘500 Days of Summer’ (itself inspired by the band’s ‘My Missing Days’ album), and led US publishers Image to issue a coffee-table book of graphic novellas based around 19 Spearmint songs.
Singer Shirley Lee says, “Somebody compared us to those soldiers who were still in the forest years later, because they didn’t realise the war was over. I get that, but for us there never was an army, let alone a war… we never were part of a movement, or part of a scene, we’ve been on our own all the way… and we still are. It sometimes makes it hard financially, but it’s worth it. We’ve been happily ignored most of the time, but it’s allowed us to just get on with it.” As a result, the band sound as fresh now as they did when their debut album ‘A Week Away’ was released twenty years ago.
Now comes the new Spearmint album ‘Are You From The Future?’, a heady, energetic, romantic exploration of the chaos we are all living through. Re-united with their original producer JB to make the record in Brighton, the band feel that the album is one of their very best.
Spearmint is still Shirley Lee (singing, guitar), Simon Calnan (singing, keyboards), James Parsons (bass, artwork) and Ronan Larvor (drums). The band are occasionally joined by Andy Lewis (Paul Weller). Andy was busy with other projects during the making of this album but will return in the future.
As well as the 20th anniversary of their debut album ‘A Week Away’ (featuring ‘Sweeping The Nation’, ‘We’re Going Out’, ‘A Trip Into Space’), the band are also celebrating the 50th release on their own hitBACK label. “We only started hitBACK to avoid all that business of sending off demo tapes to labels. We saw so many good bands losing heart because they were rejected, or worse, splitting up because they were signed and then got dropped.”
Some of Spearmint’s key previous albums are the afore mentioned ‘A Week Away’ (1999), as well as ‘A Different Lifetime’ (2001), ‘My Missing Days’ (2003), ‘Paris in a Bottle’ (2006), ‘Shirley Lee’ (2009) and ‘It’s Time to Vanish’ (2016), which was their latest release. ‘Are You From The Future?’ is out on 1st November digitally, on CD, and on extremely limited customised vinyl.
See Spearmint live:
14th November – Water Rats, London
‘Are You From The Future’ track-listing:
1, 24 Hours in A and E
2, Pick The Papers Up
6, I Don’t Sleep Well Without You
7, Boom Boom Boom
8, As I Write This
9, St Thomas In The Darkness
10, I Met A Boy
11, The West Pier
12, It Won’t Happen To Me